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Questions tagged [commentaries]

Questions related to Jewish commentaries, their meaning and their origin.

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The difference in corners

There appear to be three different words used in tanach for "corner": Pinah (shmot 26:2) kanaf (Shmu'el 1 24:4) Keren (I haven't found one yet, but this site says that its use as "corner" is ...
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Where in the writings of the Vilna Gaon does he discuss how Rashi & Tosfot each explain a Talmudic “sugiya?”

Two days ago, I asked this question in the name of the Vilna Gaon. I was informed that the answer may be [also] found in the writings of Rav Chaim Volozhin. So, I re-phrased the question. My ...
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What were the additional 40 plagues? [duplicate]

There's an argument between Rabbi Akiva and Rabbi Eliezer, how many plagues there actually were in Egypt. R. Akiva says 50 and Rabbi Eliezer says 40. Do we actually know what were the additional ...
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Has anyone learned the Sheiltot of R. Achai Gaon with the Netziv's commentary?

Would you recommend it? I really enjoy learning anything with the Netziv and I like the idea of halachic midrashim on the parsha with some ethical messages. It seems like it's a great way to learn ...
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Why did the sea travelers in Yonah 1 proselytize instead of becoming righteous gentiles?

We read in Yonah 1 about the men who traveled on a boat with Yonah. When the sea ceased storming we read: "And the men feared the Lord exceedingly, and they made sacrifices to the Lord and made vows."...
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Using the name יהוה [duplicate]

HaShem teaches Moshe the following in Shemot 3:15: כֹּה-תֹאמַר אֶל-בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל, יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵי אֲבֹתֵיכֶם אֱלֹהֵי אַבְרָהָם אֱלֹהֵי יִצְחָק וֵאלֹהֵי יַעֲקֹב, שְׁלָחַנִי אֲלֵיכֶם; זֶה-שְּׁמִי ...
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The usage of the title HaShem instead of other titles [duplicate]

One doesn’t pronounce יהוה, but with so many titles to be found in the Tenach for referring to יהוה, why would we refer to Him as ‘HaShem’ then? Why not stick with Adonai, Anochi, El Shadai etc. like ...
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List of which Rishonim wrote on each Masechta?

I would like to know if anyone has made a comprehensive list/chart of which Rishonim wrote on each masechta in shas. Such a list would include details such as: Masechtos where Rashi is not rashi, the ...
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Sources from Tanach for Praying in Minyan

I’ve got a question about people praying together. Hence from were in the Tanach, from which verse(s) or context, did the idea or concept for group/communal/collective prayer developed from? Or is ...
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Moving things around “opposite the gap” in an enclosure on Shabbat

On Shabbat there are mitigating structures whose presence can enclose an area physically, constituting a necessary ingredient in allowing movement of objects within that area. There are several ...
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1answer
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make atonement - אכפרה

Shemot 32:30 teaches us that Moshe said to the people: “You have sinned a great sin, and now I will go up unto the Lord, peradventure I shall make atonement for you.” Bereshit 32:20 Likewise teaches ...
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Did Ralbag's predecessors help him, or make things more difficult for him?

At the end of his commentary to Parshat Bereishit, Ralbag writes that he had difficulty composing his commentary to this parshah because the earlier commentaries practically pushed him away from ...
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What does “Esav soneh l'Ya'akov” means?

There is this famous statement (B"R 78:9): Esav Soneh l'Ya'akov. Although the Tenach states Esav bore a grudge (Genesis 27:41) in his heart, and showed great animosity in wanting to kill Ya'akov, ...
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Your name shall be 'Yisrael', but what does it mean and why so?

In relation to another question of mine I would like to know what the name Yisrael really means. It literally says Ya'akov is now names Yisrael because he has struggled AND has overcome. I heard ...
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Seeing your face has been like?

Ya'akov finally has met Esav after many years, and against all odds Esav hugs and kisses him. Ya'akov words seem to imply that Esav has granted him favor/grace/mercy. And then in Genesis 33:10 he says:...
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Why did Ralbag's commentary to Leviticus take so much longer than the other books of the Torah?

At the end of each book in his Commentary to the Torah, Ralbag gives us the date he completed it. At the end of the book of Genesis he tells us that it was completed in October of 1329: והנה היתה ...
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Did Noach have sefarim from previous generations?

I am pretty sure I saw one of the Mefarshim in the Oz Vehadar Mikraos Gedolos (or a Midrash), that said that Noach learned from a sefer/(or sefarim) from previous generation(s). (I think it might ...
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Won’t let go unless you bless me

In the moment Yaakov is wrestling a adversary he says: ‘לא אשלחך כי אם ברכתני’, I wondered if there are any commentaries which reads this differently. I noticed that Rabbi Hirsch connects the root ...
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The fear and anxiety of Yaakov before meeting Eisav

Bereshit 32:8: "וַיִּירָא יַעֲקֹב מְאֹד וַיֵּצֶר לוֹ וַיַּחַץ אֶת־הָעָם אֲשֶׁר־אִתּוֹ וְאֶת־הַצֹּאן וְאֶת־הַבָּקָר וְהַגְּמַלִּים לִשְׁנֵי מַחֲנוֹת׃" "Jacob was greatly frightened; in his ...
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What does Judaism say about the Original sin?

DISCLAIMER: I am not Jewish nor am I a follower of Judaism. I have read the Torah, prophets and writings with Rashi commentary, also have read some of the Midrash, and read/watch some of today's ...
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Talking with/against the dead [duplicate]

If a beloved one has passed away, is it allowed or prohibited to talk against this soul? For example is it allowed to say goodbey, or to say you will mis him/her? I know there is a prohibition against ...
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New heaven and earth?

Yeshayahu 65:17 (66:22): "כִּי־הִנְנִי בוֹרֵא שָׁמַיִם חֲדָשִׁים וָאָרֶץ חֲדָשָׁה וְלֹא תִזָּכַרְנָה הָרִאשֹׁנוֹת וְלֹא תַעֲלֶינָה עַל־לֵב׃ " writes about a new heaven and earth. Although I’m not ...
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מלא יד - full hand, meaning?

I've a question about the combination of words מלא יד as shown in verses like Shemot 29:35, 32:29, Vayikra 8:33, Bamidbar 3:3, 1 Divrei HaYamim 29:5, 2 Divrei HaYamim 6:4, 6:15, 13:9, 29:31 etc... ...
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Any connection between Isaiah 40:3 and the story of Ya'akov's name changed to Yisrael?

Regards the name changing from Ya'akov to Yisrael the Kli Yakar states that the name Yisrael comes from the word Yashar El, to be straight with G-d. This transformation is compared to Yeshayahu 40:4 '...
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Yom HaKaseh - Rosh HaShanah

Is it true that Rosh HaShanah is also called Yom HaKeseh, meaning “The Day of the Hiding” or “the Hidden Day.” I noticed that it’s called this way because of Tehillim 81. Is it true it’s also called ...
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Passing thru the covenant as idolaters do?

Parashat Nitzavim starts with the following Pasuk (Devorim 29,11): "לְעָבְרְךָ בִּבְרִית ה"א וּבְאָלָתוֹ אֲשֶׁר ה"א כֹּרֵת עִמְּךָ הַיּוֹם׃" to enter into the covenant of the LORD your God, ...
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Grouping of women in the beginning of Parashat Nitzavim

Parashat Nitzavim starts with the following Psukim (Devarim 29,9), grouping the Jewish Nation into two parts: "אַתֶּם נִצָּבִים הַיּוֹם כֻּלְּכֶם לִפְנֵי ה"א רָאשֵׁיכֶם שִׁבְטֵיכֶם זִקְנֵיכֶם ...
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With what and why did Ya’akov struggle?

Many times I came across teachings which stated that Ya’akov Avinu wrestled (struggled) with what could be described as something representative of Esav (I.e. Edom, Adam); of which it is said it was ...
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Angel helping to find a proper wife?

At one point in time Avraham asks his servant Eliezer to go out and search a wife for his son. In Bereshit 24:7 Avraham tells him that HaShem will send His messenger (malach) before him.. Eliezer ...
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How to define the Malach Panav from the book of Isaiah?

In Yeshayahu 63:9 there’s a mention of a ‘malach panav (מַלְאַךְ פָּנָיו)’, why is this malach refered to in this kind of way; why this specific entitlement; what does the combination of the words ...
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Judges Chapter 9 and Aesop's Fable

In the book of Judges 9:8-15 we have the following fable: 8 The trees went forth on a time to anoint a king over them; and they said unto the olive-tree: Reign thou over us. 9 But the olive-...
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Malach HaShem, Malach HaElohim and the way it presents itself

I’ve a question about Shemot 14:19 in which the malach ha’elohiem (מלאך האלהים) is mentioned. This verse explicitly says that this messenger who went before the camp, removed and went behind them ...
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What do the words 'Hinei Makom Iti' mean if Makom is also a title for G-d?

In Shemot 33:21 HaShem utters the words: 'הִנֵּה מָקוֹם אִתִּי'. I noticed HaShem uses the word 'makom', which reminded me of another teaching in which the word Makom is considered to be some sort of ...
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The meaning of ירך

I’m unclear as to the meaning of the word ירך that appears in Vayishlach, in 32:26. What’s the precise meaning of ירך often translated as hip, thigh, loin, gird etc. Which body part, bone or muscle is ...
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Source that the word לשמי hints to the changing of Yaakov's name to Yisrael

In Genesis 32:30 after Ya’akov want’s to know the name of which he is wrestling with, the question is asked why he wants to know it’s name: (למה זה תשאל לשמי), I can’t find its source but I heard ...
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Wrestling HaSatan

I know there are many explanations on who Ya’akov wrestled with. But I came across an explanation teaching it was HaSatan he wrestled with. Hoped someone could give me the sources or explanations ...
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To pass אעביר (Exo 33:19), what does it mean?

Exodus 33:19 reads: " אני אעביר כל־טובי על־פניך ", I know it's often translated somewhat like this: "I will make all My goodness pass before thee (before thy face)", but I noticed it's root ע - ב - ר ...
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Why is the format for referencing books sometimes backwards?

The Rambam is usually reference in the following way: פרק א׳ מהלכות ק״ש הלכה ט׳ - chapter 1 from from hilchos kerias shma, halacha 9. Why is it referenced this way? Why not the way many ...
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Swear by His Name, what the real meaning of this command?

Could someone explain to me the meaning of the phrase: וּבִשְׁמוֹ, תִּשָּׁבֵעַ in Devarim 6:13? It seems to be the positive command of the prohebition mentioned in Vayikra 19:12... I know that the ...
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Why in the V'ahavta does U'vShacbacha (when you lie down) come before U'vkumecha (when you rise up)?

The order would be more logical if it was when you rise up comes before when you lie down. What do the mfarshim say about this?
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What is special in “2000 ama” that it have the unique note [duplicate]

What is special in the words "2000 ama" in the verce numbers 35.5 that is has a conitasinal note that is unique in thw chumash (only found once) Onther places in the bible that it is found (במדבר לה ...
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Choshech, Anan v'Araphel? What does this mean?

I have a question regards Devarim 4:11 which in Hebrew reads: "עַד-לֵב הַשָּׁמַיִם חֹשֶׁךְ, עָנָן וַעֲרָפֶל". Transliteration reads the words 'choshech, anan and araphel'. It seems to me that there ...
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Have any Jewish commentaries been written on the Septuagint?

While a number of Jewish commentaries have been written on Targum Onkelos, Targum Yonasan, Targum Pseudo-Yonasan, and Targum Yerushalmi (see the list in the Targum section at Parshablog, for example), ...
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You shall not have any other gods

In Exodus 20:3 the words lo yihyeh ( לֹא יִהְיֶה־לְךָ) are often translated as: 'you shall not have'. The base word is היה (hayah) meaning "to exist." Which reminded me of the Adon Olam phrase: 'V'hu ...
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1answer
68 views

Did Aaron have daughters?

We are reading this Shabat parshat Pinchas. In this parsha the Torah mentioned the daughters of Tzelofchad as follows: וצלפחד בן חפר לא היו לו בנים כי אם בנות ושם בנות צלפחד מחלה ונעה חגלה מלכה ...
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1answer
58 views

Hang up people to cause the anger of the Lord to turn

Could someone explain to me how the anger of the Lord is turned by hanging people in view for all to watch? Numbers 25:4 (Mechon-mamre translation): "Take all the chiefs of the people, and hang them ...
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1answer
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Nehushtan destroyed

Could someone explain to me why we read in Melachim II 2:18 that the brass serpent that Moses had made had been kept al this time? And how or why did the people became to honor it; for until that ...
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1answer
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Serpants (snakes) or Seraphim (heavenly beings of some sort)?

I read different questions on this matter from 'mi yodeya' but I couldn't find my answer: In Numbers 21:6 HaShem brings הנְּחָשִׁים הַשְּׂרָפִים upon the people... In Numbers 21:8 HaShem commands ...
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1answer
38 views

The encampment around the Tabernacle: What did it look like?

Based on Bamidbar/Numbers 2:2 the Israelites had to pitch their tents by tribe around the Ohel Mo'ed/Mishkan. But what I would like to know is How it would look from above? What shape would it be (...
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27 views

The fourth generation Numbers 23:10

Numbers/Bamidbar 23:10 reads: et roba Yisrael - אֶת־רֹבַע יִשְׂרָאֵל I noticed roba is connected with ribea רִבֵּעַ meaning great-grandson, but refers to the fourth generation. The previous words ...